Under The Spotlight: Dr Catie Gutmann Roberts

Research Associate Dr Catie Gutmann Roberts tells us about her passion for conservation and all things aquatic ๐Ÿ 

Catherine Gutmann Roberts
Research Associate
Manchester Metropolitan University

In this weeks edition of Under The Spotlight we talk with Research Associate Dr Catie Gutmann Roberts. Catie has a PhD in freshwater population ecology & is passionate about all aspects of aquatic ecology and conservation. She has previously worked with an NGO to promote and enhance the conservation of marine protected areas in Tanzania as well as working in aquaculture research and marine policy. 

Let's see what Catie had to say as she went Under Spotlight...๐Ÿ”ฆ

What inspired you to get involved in conservation and the environment?

I accidentally stumbled across the field of Zoology whilst looking for a degree that involved my passion for animals and my school strengths in science. Luckily for me it turned out to be a perfect fit. The lecturers during my undergraduate degree inspired me in marine conservation and during my masters I got hooked on freshwater conservation. Now I'm passionate about all aquatic conservation, as they're the systems that we impact in so many ways.

If you could change one thing to make a huge impact on the planet, what would it be?

Our food production across the globe has massive impacts on the planet from the water it requires, the damage it can do to soils and the large carbon dioxide emissions that come from it. Climate change is the biggest threat to our biodiversity and our carbon footprint is something that we need to urgently reduce. I'd like to see traffic light systems on all food products showing the carbon footprints, that way consumers can make informed decisions and hopefully steer industry to a more sustainable pathway.

How would you convince the Donald Trumps of this world that biodiversity is important?

Unfortunately the Trumps of this world don't engage with evidence so whilst the evidence is of utmost importance, we also need to persuade them with passion. It's not hard to fall in love with wildlife so I'd try to take them on a SCUBA dive to fall in love with marine biodiversity or on a walk through the woods where you could point out all the birds and bugs they might have missed.

What is your most memorable encounter with an animal or nature?

I had a brilliant dive off the Farne Islands where a seal kissed my head! He was a cheeky chap nibbling on our fins and playing with the surface marker bouy. Seals are so big and so majestic in the water.

Who is your conservation role model?

Like many of us, I'm a huge Attenborough fan and I think his latest series, Blue Planet II was fantastic and will help us make huge strides in conservation. I also think that Jane Goodall is an amazing woman and her work on primates is inspiring.


If you would like to see what Cate is up to you can find her @CatieGR on twitter for fishy facts and Catie_fish on instagram for aquatic pics and lots of dog spam.

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